Employees are our most valuable asset

RantI know. Cringe-worthy isn’t it? I think actually saw you squirm as you read that.

It’s a common reaction.

Why?

Because it generally falls in the realm of hypocrisy. The realm of “methinks thou dost protest too much.” The realm of talking the talk without walking the walk.

So, Donald H. Taylor is taking a cut at improving that phrase with his post, “People are our greatest asset – you just can’t say it.”

And it’s a great post, with links to a ton of other good thinking.

I guess my question remains “Why?”

Why even try to say it?

I mean, if it’s so universally understood, why do we need something to describe it?

Do we need “I like breathing oxygen”?

I say we throw this one on the rubbish heap and let it die. Let’s not try to reinvent it. The foundation is flawed, so any structure built upon it will be equally faulty.

And if you think you need to use a phrase like this, I have some advice for you: Lead by example.

Do something. Don’t talk about it. Demonstrate the value of your employees. Don’t pander to the masses with empty-headed phrases that do nothing but make you and your company appear foolish.

But maybe that’s just me.

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Career, Wrong. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Employees are our most valuable asset

  1. Hey Rick

    Thanks for the reference. You know, strangely, I find myself agreeing with you – action is definitely better than empty words.

    I doubt if anyone will use my suggested replacement phrase. Unfortunately, I also doubt if anyone will abandon the original, either.

    Good blog, and your postulates make sense, too. I’ll be back.

    Don

  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    Sometimes, my sheer laziness causes me to abandon the fight, and every once in a while that happens to be the right answer. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by, for taking the time to comment, and for the kind words. We really appreciate it, Don.

    I’ve added your blog to my feed reader and am looking forward to reading–and interacting–more.

  3. Toby Lucich says:

    “People are our most valuable asset” is kind of like “treat others as you would like to be treated.” Inescapable, universal truisms.

    We just lose sight of them. I would like to never have to heard either of these pointed out again, but think that the fundamental nature of both requires that they be explicitly voiced occassionally to check behaviors.

  4. Rick Turoczy says:

    At least the Golden Rule prescribes action.

    “Employees… asset” is just a statement of fact that adds nothing but unnecessary obfuscation.

    Yeah, I said “obfuscation.” I’d say it again, too.

  5. Mark French says:

    On the gap between the rhetoric and the reality:
    “I was invited to the State Young Writers’ Conference out at Cheney, which was a
    Eastern Washington university. And I didn’t want to embarrass my son, you
    know, and I was gonna behave myself cause I had to live there then – it was a
    chore. But I got on the stage – it was an enormous auditorium; there were
    twenty-seven hundred young faces out there, none of them with any prospects
    anybody could detect – and off to the side of the stage was the suit-and-tie
    crowd of people from the school district and the principals, and the, the main
    speaker following me was from the Chamber of Commerce.

    Well something inside of me snapped.

    And I got to the microphone, and I looked out over that multitude of faces and
    I said something to the effect of:

    “You’re about to be told one more time that you’re America’s most valuable
    natural resource.

    Have you SEEN what they do to valuable natural resources?
    Have you seen them strip mine? Have you seen a clear-cut in a forest? Have
    you seen a polluted river?

    Don’t ever let them call you a valuable natural resource! They’re gonna strip mine your soul! They’re gonna clear-cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit, unless you learn to resist, cause the
    profit system follows the path of least resistance, and following the path of
    least resistance is what makes the river crooked! Hmph!”

    Well there was great gnashing of teeth and rending of garments – mine. I was
    borne to the door, screaming epithets over my shoulder, something to the effect
    of: “Make a break for it, kids!” “Flee to the wilderness!” The one within, if you can find it.

    Well, I wrote them a nice letter though, as I oozed out of the state, headed for Nevada City. I sent it to their little literary magazine.

    I respect kids. I love especially little kids. Little kids are assholes. But they’re their own assholes, see, it’s when they, when you grow up and become somebody else’s asshole we’re all in trouble, you know, like bankers or B-52 pilots and such.”

  6. Mark French says:

    I neglected to mention the source for the quotation in the previos comment: the inimitable Utah Phillips ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Past-Didnt-Go-Anywhere/dp/B0000631O5/ref=sr_1_16/202-6149291-0248634?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1174759725&sr=8-16 )

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